Heather Smith Thomas

Heather Smith Thomas ranches with her husband near Salmon, Idaho, raising cattle and a few horses. She has a B.A. in English and history from University of Puget Sound (1966). She has raised and trained horses for 50 years, and has been writing freelance articles and books nearly that long, publishing 20 books and more than 9,000 articles for horse and livestock publications. Some of her books include Understanding Equine Hoof Care, The Horse Conformation Handbook, Care and Management of Horses, Storey's Guide to Raising Horses and Storey's Guide to Training Horses. Besides having her own blog, www.heathersmiththomas.blogspot.com, she writes a biweekly blog at https://insidestorey.blogspot.com that comes out on Tuesdays.

Articles by: Heather Smith Thomas

Methodologies for Assessing Horses' Quality of Life Needed

The Aging Horse

We’ll explore how the horse’s body systems age and what to look out for in your equine senior citizen.

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Bad Horse Bugs

Horse owners and vets must use antimicrobials responsibly to help reduce bacterial drug resstance.

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Fertilization and Early Pregnancy Loss in Mares

Postpartum Problems in Mares

Many things can go wrong when a mare foals, both during parturition and immediately after. Dystocia (difficult birth) is especially concerning. Even if things seem normal, here’s why a veterinarian should perform a post-foaling exam for mom an

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Blood Test to Detect and Monitor Pregnancy in Mares

Veterinarians and breeders can now detect pregnancy in mares using an ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) test that detects estrogen molecules in a mare’s blood sample and is cheaper and easier to perform than an ultrasound.

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Safe (Equine) Teasing

Teasing is essential to detect when a broodmare is in estrus, but it’s no easy feat due to the size and power of the animals involved. Safety should be top priority–to avoid injury to horses and people.

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Safe Teasing

Teasing is essential to detect when a broodmare is in estrus, but it’s no easy feat due to the size and power of the animals involved. Safety should be top priority–to avoid injury to horses and people. Teasing is particularly useful on farms with more than a dozen mares, according to…

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Eye Trauma in Horses

Eye injuries are fairly common in horses and can be serious, especially if neglected. They run the gamut from corneal injuries (e.g., superficial scratches, punctures, or a foreign body caught under an eyelid) to full-thickness eyelid lacerations to blunt trauma. Have a veterinarian examine a horse with an eye injury as soon as possible to diagnose the problem, check for corneal ulcers, and

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Do Horses Remember Each Other?

Shedding Light on Strangles in Horses

Strangles is caused by a bacterium that gains access to the body through the nose or throat. Some affected horses suffer breathing obstruction due to enlarged lymph nodes that narrow the air passages–hence, the name strangles. For these reasons strangles causes considerable concern to horse owners and veterinarians. Containing the disease requires diligent biosecurity measures.

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Multi-Species Grazing: Horses and Cows and Goats, Oh My!

A handful of horses graze in a pasture one week; a herd of goats mow down its bushes and weeds the next. This multi-species rotational grazing system has its advantages, but whether they outweigh the disadvantages will depend on your situation, purposes, climate, and forage growth.

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5 Tips for Feeding Weanlings

Ways to Wean Young Horses

There are many ways to wean foals, but a method in which the foal can make a gradual adjustment to being apart from his dam or herdmates is often the least stressful.

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Lameness: Getting to the Bottom of It

Pinpointing lameness in horses is crucial before proper treatment can be prescribed. There are several approaches to lameness examinations and diagnostic methods, which will be partly determined by the age of the horse and what it does for living.

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Pasture Sugars

Grass is grass, right? Wrong! That lovely green pasture you’ve diligently watered and kept weed-free can be like Jekyll and Hyde. If your horse is at risk for grass founder or has a low tolerance for high levels of sugar, a pasture that might be perfect feed in the morning can be his biggest enemy in the afternoon.

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First Steps for Foal Handling

Discussion of the many ways to teach young horses/foals to submit to humans; from imprinting to halter training, tying, grooming, and much more.

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